Ghostbusters 2: 25 years later

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2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the sci-fi comedy classic Ghostbusters. It’s also the 25th anniversary of the much maligned sequel, Ghostbusters 2.

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I’ve never understood the geek rage that is directed towards this movie. While it’s not a perfect film, it’s really not that bad. There have been some truly terrible sequels, and it’s not fair to put this film in the same category as the Schumacher Batman films.

I decided to sit down and watch the movie again and really see how it holds up on it’s own. How does the film play 25 years later without the the filter of nostalgia or any bias attached?

The first thing you notice is how much more cartoony this movie is compared to the original. That is saying a lot considering the first movie climaxed with a 60 foot tall marshmallow man. Ghostbusters 2 opens outside Dana’s apartment with a series of isolated encounters showing angry New Yorkers. It all feels very forced and fake.

We are then reintroduced to our Ghostbusters and where they are now, 5 years after the fight with Gozer.

Ray and Winston are doing birthday parties for kids. This scene stands out, not because of the kids chanting “He-man!”, but because nothing in this scene is ever referenced again in the film. In fact, several minutes later we get a second introduction to Ray in his book shop. I guess the party clown gig is just a part time affair he does with Winston. Outside of the party scene, the other introductions are solid entertaining scenes.

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Peter’s hosting of “World of the Psychic” is a fun call back to the old Pete from the beginning of the first film. Back when he is more like a game show host. Egon is conducting science experiments on couples who need counseling and Ray is now back at his day job in the book store. Maybe they just didn’t know what to do with Winston.

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Once the film gets going things improve quickly. The three of them digging a hole in the street and the courtroom scenes are a lot of fun. The characters are all back and in good form.

The story continues moving at a good pace through the first act and into the second. But as we approach the final act, the wheels start to come off. Everything culminates in an uneven final battle between the Ghostbusters and Vigo. It would be mostly enjoyable, but the Statue of Liberty scene just pushes it into the ridiculous.

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The most disappointing part of the film is not the Statue of Liberty or the silly painting of the four Ghostbusters, but the lack of Elmer Bernstein’s fantastic score from the first movie. It feels like a character is missing without that unique score.

In the end, Ghostbusters 2 is a solid comedic sequel, burdened by an overly cartoonish finale. It doesn’t live up to the standards of the first movie, but considering how high the bar was set by the first movie, I’m not sure any film could live up to it.

Today’s Guest Post was written by Paul DePaola, An overly opinionated geek who spends his free time obsessing over Star Wars and Batman. You can find more of his stuff at Fan Boys Talking.

  • I always enjoyed the second movie mostly because it was so outrageous. It is very similar to the 2nd TMNT movie released. The 1st movie was a blockbuster so the 2nd movie went “all-in” knowing they had an established audience.

  • gocsa

    Lol it’s one of those movies that the majority of people think was a flop when it came out and that it sucked. No, it wasn’t a flop at all, it just failed to recreate the box office performance of the first film – it was a crowded summer though so it might have done better a year earlier for example. And no, it did not suck, actually every time I stumble upon a review or retrospective type of article, the authors are always surprised how good it is, especially since they remembered it to be a shitty movie. It’s just one of those things; Ghostbusters II has a weird reputation, and I don’t know why. A lot of it is also rewriting history. Yeah, some were disappointed when it came out and pretty much everybody agreed that it wasn’t as good as the original (more like an almost complete rehash of the original’s structure and jokes), but audiences still liked it very much.